Change the World Wednesday – 14th Mar

This challenge cannot wait for my round up next Wednesday. But, having said that, I am not sure that I can do justice to what I have to say.

War has been with us since the dawn of mankind

War – is surely the greatest blight on humanity that exists, there is none greater.

War is, without doubt, the most resource hungry, wasteful and polluting activity that mankind indulges in.

I’m going to ignore the political machinations of war, the reasons behind wars, the people who declare war and the minions that are sent to fight them because much has already been written by better people than I. I feel I could hardly add anything new, relevant or further; so I won’t even try.

But in all our talk of the environment, ecology and the ‘greening’ of the world, we continue to ignore war.

We are like the ostrich, we bury our heads in the sand and say “What?” as though we have absolutely no idea what the question was.

Reduce Footprints’ Lenten CTWW series has done a great service simply by adding this challenge.

War is harmful, costly and opposed to life in so many ways that its obviousness as a threat to a sustainable Eco-system makes it at once redundant to state and easy to overlook. Advocate for peace today by any life-affirming means which feels right to you. To learn more about the specific harm to the Eco-system caused by war, please see http://www.lenntech.com/environmental-effects-war.htm and http://www.enviroliteracy.org/article.php/588.php

Most people are insulated from the war/s. They are something that happens over…. there. They are not a part of our repertoire, unless we have family who are militarily involved. The government deals with wars, we the people do not. We do not see the waste, the spending, the pollution and the death involved in wars. We do not see the raw materials that we waste simply so we can blow the other man further towards hell than he can blow us.

Most of us have seen films, Good Morning Vietnam (yes, war does have humour) and Full Metal Jacket (yes, war has pathos). We see these spectacles and laugh or cry along with the clowns and the heroes, but we do not see the cost of war.

The cost of war, historically, has always been measured in human lives. But while death is a terrible aspect of war, we do not see the real physical costs. The current round of conflicts in the Middle East are the first that we have really seen war monetarised in billions and trillions of dollars. But this is still not the real cost of war. The real costs are the resources that we are stealing from the planet, the pollution that we create and the carbon footprint of war.

How does that measure against a cow fart?

Greenhouse gases; we complain about the fact that cows burp and fart when we raise them for meat; that our cars emits carbon monoxide as we drive to work and the supermarket; we complain about coal-fired power stations and industry belching these gases into the atmosphere. But has anyone bothered to complain about the gases produced every time an infantryman fires his rifle, every time a hand-grenade explodes or a tank fires its murderous cannon? Do we complain about the jet exhaust of the fighters overhead, or the exhaust of the supply tucks that rumble along the war zone highways to take more gas producing weaponry to the front line? Do we complain about the need for air conditioning/furnaces on bases to keep the troops cool or hot? Has any one ever suggested to the military turn down your air conditioning/furnaces a notch to save power?

These are the costs of war. They don’t only affect the military, they affect every living being on the planet; whether they are at war or not.

Most discerning people declare themselves to be green, to some or other degree. We see some excellent examples of people really trying, you only have to browse amongst those that visit Reduce Footprints leaving their Meet & Greet Monday and blogs of a similar ilk; they are there, you can see them.

But we all sit back in our recliners, with our air conditioning/furnaces turned down a notch and the clean air filters, we look at the world through our double glazed windows, admire our ‘green car’ on the drive way, that we drive to the farmers’s markets for organic produce, knowing that we don’t have wasteful and poisonous products in our cleaning armoury and our rubbish is all nicely separated for kerbside recycling, we gloat over our beautiful gardens made all the more beautiful because we compost and produce our household veges. The world is wonderful, we are ‘green.’

But how green really?

Answer this question:

What have you done to prevent/avoid/diminish/eliminate war?

If you answer a meek “nothing!” Then you’re not as green as you thought you were. Your silence, your apathy makes you implicit in allowing war to continue;makes you implicit in adding to the greatest destroying, polluting, wasting activity of mankind.

Does that hurt?

I hope it does. Have you ever heard the saying “The truth hurts”? Well, it does.

How can you help? Write to your congressman, blog, make people aware of the true cost of war. A simple act can relieve your conscience and help make the world a better place. I post, or repost information on the world’s military infractions almost daily, not here, but I do it to make people aware of the insidious side of our world, it’s what I can do, so I do it; and you can too.

If you haven’t read the links in the original challenge, go and read them now, they will open your eyes.

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